How We Grow

Every morning there is dew on the grass behind my apartment.

The dew is there because overnight the air temperature dropped to a point where it couldn’t hold its moisture and so little dew drops distilled onto the blades of grass in the wee hours of the morning.

When the sun comes up and I get up it’s still there. On most days I don’t notice the dew. Yet it is there all the same, glistening quietly in the morning sunlight and soaking into the ground to refresh the grass. Often, the sun rises and the dew is forgotten and gone: another day has begun. It’s just part of the process of life.

But every once in a while there is a day when the morning is uncannily dark, and cumulonimbus clouds gather above. There’s a Texas thunderstorm brewing.

Things seem to change before the rain comes. The animals know it’s coming. Then at a certain point, if you’re outside, you’ll feel your first raindrop. A few staccato drops will hit, then it gets more steady. Then a shower has started. That’s when you head inside or get drenched.

Texas holds half of the world’s records for the most rainfall in 48 hours.

A heavy thunderstorm here is a crisis. There are flash floods, power outages,and more accidents on the highways.

Process and Crisis

The story of Texas weather illustrates a principle apparent in nature: life grows by process and crisis.

Life is carried on through long periods of relative calm (process) punctuated by sudden and drastic events (crisis). Think dew and downpour.

Consider some other examples of life occuring through process and crisis:

  • In botany, plants photosynthesize and grow year-round but only bloom for a short season. There’s even an agave plant that only blooms once in a quarter-century.
  • In academia, a semester course has many days of lecture but only one day of final examination.
  • In childbirth, an infant grows quietly for nine months inside its mother’s womb until the crisis of delivery.
  • Jesus lived for thirty years as an unknown carpenter in Galilee. Day in and day out he worked to support his family. Then when the time was right, He left carpentry and went to John to be baptized in the Jordan River. That was a crisis.

Our growth in the Christian life is the same. We grow by process and crisis.

The beginning – like our physical birth – is a crisis. We are born again (John 3:6) when we believe into Christ and receive His Spirit. That is regeneration.

When the Lord returns there will be another crisis.

“For just as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” -Matt. 24:27

Glorification also is a crisis.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…we will be changed.” -1 Cor. 15:52

Our daily life is not one crisis after another, however. That would look like the beginning of Job.

No, our days are typically filled with small events that we hardly remember. But during these normal days if we receive the Lord’s speaking like dew, His gentle,  divine dispensing will water us, and we will grow day-by-day (Deut. 32:2). It’s good to learn to appreciate these normal days, and be thankful for them.

Then when we get the heavy showers we will grow at an accelerated pace.

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10 thoughts on “How We Grow

  1. I really enjoyed this post. We need both process and crisis, dew and downpour. I’ve found that if you haven’t been enjoying the daily process, it’s hard to face the moment of crisis. What helps have you discovered when facing a crisis?

  2. I agree, Kyle. Enjoying the little things daily is our top way to prepare for the BIG things (practice makes a team ready for tournaments). Another help I’ve relied on is other Christians with whom I can pray– and on whom I can lean during crises.

    It reminds me of the Lord’s word about building our house on the rock. What does this say about being prepared for a crisis related to the process?

  3. Wow. So good. It’s truly changing your life when you start seeing mundane, boring daily routines to be opportunities to grow, particularly as a Christian.

  4. In FTTA-XB we have been studying the crucial truths in the book of Colossians. Your post, especially the last paragraph, made me think of Col. 2:16-17. Here Paul speaks of eating and drinking, which is daily, Sabbaths, which are weekly, new moons, which are monthly, and feasts, which are yearly. In verse 17, he says that Christ is the body, the substance, and thus, the reality, of all these things. In our normal days, “filled with small events that we hardly remember”, we can practice taking Christ as the reality of the material things in our daily life. If we do so, “our daily walk will be revolutionized and transformed” (Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 356)

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Awesome revelation, thanks Travis. We are being “revolutionized” by Christ in our daily walk. I really like 1 Cor. 3:21-23 also, in which Paul points out that all things are ours, we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. We are truly His.

  5. This post of yours is very touching, Merrill. You successfully convey how normal it is to pass through process and crisis, so that we may grow. Actually isn’t this a natural law? But often in my walk with the Lord, I wish to escape process and crisis because they’re not easy.

    In your previous response, you said that companions in the Lord would help us in passing through a crisis. On the flip side though, how would you help someone passing through a crisis in his or her spiritual walk with the Lord?

    1. Good question Katherine, I often wonder exactly the same thing. Most of the time I rely on how I’ve been helped in the past when I passed through crises. If I have passed through something similar, I can empathize and comfort others. Paul mentioned this in 2 Cor 1:4. I’ve also been learning recently that the best help we can render is to bring others to the Lord Himself, e.g. four friends bring the paralytic to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12); and that we can’t often help others just by ourselves–it took four friends in that parable to bring one to the Savior. How do you help others in need?

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